Sizzle With S

Emergent Literacy

Shelly Roark

Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /s/, the phoneme represented by S. Students will learn to recognize /s/ in spoken words by learning a meaningful representation (hot water poured into a pot) and the letter symbol S, practice finding /s/ in words, and apply phoneme awareness with /s/ in phonetic cue reading by distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.  This lesson will be able to help children be able to recognize phonemes in spoken words, otherwise known as phonemic awareness. They also need to be able to detect phonemes in the words they are saying.


Chart paper with tongue tickler written on it ("Sally sold seashells by the seashore.")

-picture of sizzling water being poured

- Dry erase board with primary lines

- Dry erase marker

- 4 Cards with words with the/s/ sound written on them and 4 cards without the /s/ sound-1 word per card. Words: sing, swim, seal, apple, run, tree, sea, cry  

-5 cards with words with the /s/ sound in them: sound, snake, sleep, say, and stand.

- Glue, construction paper, stickers, scissors, and markers for each group to decorate a piece of construction paper cut out into the shape of steaming water being poured from a pot. The kids will decorate it with glitter glue and Styrofoam cutouts. Then they will write the letter S after we have practiced it on the "water" that is coming out of the pot.

- Primary Paper for each student

- Pencil for each student

- Assessment of /s/ worksheet for each student--URL below


1.) Say:Today we are going to learn about a new letter, /s/. This is what /s/ looks like  (show picture of letter /s/) and it makes this sound (make /s/ sound). Today we are going to learn how to make the letter /s/, how it sounds, and what our mouths do when we say it.

2.)Say:When we say the s sound, we pretend we are pouring sizzling hot water into a pot. Show the picture of sizzling hot water being poured. How many of you have ever seen something hot being poured? Did you see the steam that came out when the water was poured? Do you remember the sound it makes when the water goes into the pot? It sounds like this: /s/ /s/ /s/ /s/. As we practice the letter /s/, we are going to pretend we are pouring hot water into a pot. Okay, everybody let's grab our water and pour it! You all are doing such a great job!

3.) (Before starting I will give each child a piece of primary paper and I will be using my chart paper to demonstrate how to write the letter S.)  Now let's look at how we write the letter S. We start by making a little curve up on the rooftop of our paper-it looks like a snake, then we are going to make another snake going the other direction near the fence on our paper, and then give that snake a curly tail, going up right beneath the fence-just like this: (While saying this, show the children how to write it on the board-will have lines just like their primary paper so that they can see the rooftop, fence, etc.). Now I'd love to see you write S. Everybody pick up their pencils and write S three times. While the students are doing this, I will be walking around the room, helping my students who are having trouble and keeping track of progress. When everyone is done I will say: All of your capital S's are looking wonderful! Now let's practice our lowercase s. First we are going to start with one snake on the fence, then we will make another snake going down towards the sidewalk and give it a curly tail-just like this: (While saying this, show the children how to write it on the board). Now I want everyone to write 3 lowercase  s's on their paper. I will continue walking around the room, monitoring the students' progress and helping those who are having trouble.

4.)Say:Now we are going to practice using our /s/ sound in words that we say. So everybody gather around on our reading rug and I am going to tell you a story. There once was a little girl named Sally. She was just about as old as all of you are and she absolutely loved the beach! Every summer Sally would go to the seashore to visit her grandparents. One summer Sally's grandmother asked Sally to collect some seashells along the shore and try to sell them. Sally said that she would and could not wait to find the prettiest shells to sell! That is our tongue tickler that is going to help us learn the sound S makes, /s/. Our tongue tickler is "Sally sells seashells by the seashore." Can I hear everybody repeat that after me? Fantastic job! Let's say it one more time, a little slower. Did any of you hear the sizzling hot water /s/ in our tongue tickler? Now let's say our tongue tickler again while grabbing our steaming water jug and pouring it whenever we hear the /s/ sound.

5.)Say: Now we are going to learn how to say the /s/ sound. Then we can tell what our mouth will do every time we say it! When we say the /s/ sound, you put your tongue at the top of your mouth and bring your teeth up to meet it while making a hissing noise and opening your mouth just a little bit. Each time you say S, immediately put your tongue on the top of your mouth and bring your teeth up. Let's try to do this as we say our tongue tickler. This time, pay attention to what your tongue does as you say each word. Sally sells seashells by the seashore. Wow! You are doing such a wonderful job! Now let's see if the word sleep has the sizzling hot water /s/ in it. Listen to me as I  spread the word out sssss-lllll-eeeee-ppppp. I heard the /s/ in sleep. It was at the beginning. Did you hear it too?  What about the word snakes? Sssss-nnnnn-aaaaa-kkkkk-eeeee-sssss. I heard it again in that word too, but I heard it in the beginning and in the end. Okay, let's try one more, make. Mmmmm-aaaaa-kkkkk-eeeee. Did you hear the sizzling  /s/ in that word? I sure didn't!

6.)Say: Now that we have learned how to write the letter S and learned how to make thee /s/ sound with our mouth, let's read a book about the letter S. The book we are going to read is called My "s" Sound Box . (I will read the book aloud to my students and show them the pictures). Did any of you hear the sizzling hot water /s/ sound in this book? The little boy tried to fill his box with things that all started with the letter S such as the seashells and the seven seals.  Now I'm going to go back and read a couple of pages again and every time you hear the /s/ sound I want you to pour your sizzling hot water! Fantastic job! Now we are going to decorate a cutout I have made for you of a water jug pouring out sizzling hot water. We are going to write the letter S on the water part of the cutout. You will get to decorate your sizzling hot water with glitter glue and cutouts I have made for you. (If time allows, have multiple ABC books for the children to explore. Pass out a different book to each pair of children.  Allow 5 minutes for exploration and discussion.  After the children have had ample time to explore, ask the groups to switch books so that the children are exposed to more than one work.)

7.)Say: Wow! All of your sizzling hot water projects look wonderful! Let's put those away and  gather around on the reading rug. I'm going to show you two cards, one at a time and I want you to look at the words on the cards and see which word has the /s/ sound in it. I will say two words.  If you think the first word has the sizzling hot water /s/ in it, I want you to pretend to pour your sizzling hot water.  If you think the second word has the sizzling hot water /s/ in it, I want you to pretend to pour your sizzling hot water.  Ready? Seal or apple?  Yes, number one, seal.  Tree or sea? Yes, number two, sea. Swim or run?  Yes, number one, swim.  One more: Cry or sing?  Yes, number two, sing. Excellent job! 

8.)Say: This time, we are going to do the same thing, only I am going to show you a word on the cards, and you will tell me which word is written. Show each card as you give the choices.  For example, on the first one, you would show the card that says snake, and ask: Is this word  or snake or bake? Good thinking, /s/ /s/ snake.  Is this word, sound or found?  Fabulous, /s/ /s/ sound.  Is this word say or lay? You all are so smart, it is say.  Is this word stand or land? Great, /s/ /s/ stand.  And is this word sleep or keep?  Good /s/ /s/ sleep.

9.)Pass out the assessments. Say: We have learned a lot today haven't we? I want to see how much you have learned so we are going to do a fun activity with the /s/ sound. On this page there are four pictures and your job is to find out which ones start with the letter S and make the /s/ sound. Part of the word is already written out for you, so use that as a clue along with the picture of the object. You can color the objects the way you want as you complete this worksheet! Remember to say the sizzling hot water /s/ sound when you are trying to figure out what the word is! If you have any questions, raise your hand quietly and I will come help you. You may start.


References: Willis, Taylor. "Gulping Grape Soda with G."

Murray, Bruce. Outline for Lesson Designs.



Moncure, Jane Belk. My "s" Sound Box. City.  Child's World. 2000. All pages.



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